E.L. Doctorow on John Leonard

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“There was something of a religious about John Leonard, however much of a principled skeptic he may have been. With his pale complexion, his round eyeglasses, there was a translucence to him such as is given to the spiritually employed. It was as if he had been assigned, somewhere off the earth, to take note of writers and to testify to their value, and was, willy-nilly, a patron saint of the writing trade, of the story-makers, of the grub street international bunch of us.”

—E.L. Doctorow, in an essay adapted from his introduction to Reading for My Life: Writings, 1958–2008, by John Leonard (edited by Sue Leonard), to be published in March by Viking Penguin.


Kevin Nolan writes essays and fiction. More from this author →